Hot4Gerry: Ok, I cannot thank you enough for dealing with my absence! I am so sorry! I have been trying to write chapters for The Endless Devotion and I have not gotten very far, in fact I need three more chapters before I could write anymore, but I have been thinking of some things for this story and I just could not stay away! Thank you so much for your support it really helped! lol, Demand or Beg right? I kept on reading that to make me write this chapter. Thank you!

Swordbunny4486: lol, short review... at least it is something! Thank you very much! I don't care if your next review is "cool" it is still encouraging. Thank you so much for reading!

GerrysJackie: Hey! I don't know if you are still reading my story anymore but I just want to thank you for reviewing and tagging along with me!

Enjoy!


Chapter 14: Who I Am

The Journey to a small village just outside of Paris took a grand total of three days. Not once did I stop for rest.

The trees around me become more familiar and I begin to shake. I am not cold during this moment. Oh no, I am not cold at all. It is fear that grips me.

It thrashes about at my heart telling me, reminding me of the past, the past that holds such dreadful moments with the one woman who could never love me. Am I really doing this? Do I truly believe the real monster was created first?

No… I don't believe. This is the only way I can prove to that demon that he was not here first! Oh this is ridiculous! Why do I need to do this?

Because you know the truth…

He is with me, that bastard! I stop walking and glance away from the path before me.

"Why must I go this far to prove it to you?" I demand my hands clenching in the process. I hear his cold laugh all around me.

"You are not going this far to prove it to me. You are going this far to see it for yourself. You do not know for sure do you dear Erik?" His words were like ice to my ears.

I take a breath and ignore his words. I tell my feet to move but they don't. Oh God, the feeling of what was once there… of what can still be there. My breath is now caught. What if she is still there? Would I be able to take it? No… she is not there. It has been far too long. She is probably dead. Alone in some cemetery where her stone only possesses her name and nothing else. No evidence of her ever having a son or husband. Just a name. Nothing more. She can harm me no longer.

My feet begin to move and I sigh with relief.

Dreama comes to mind and my heart begins to ache. My love… is she alright? Is our child alive? Tears fill my eyes and I blink them away. Now is not the time for tears. If I am to find my wife and my child I must bring him back. The only way to bring him back is to let him know the truth.

I reach a hill and I make my way to the top. As soon as I reach it I stop and stare at the small village below me. The candles in the windows were bright in the pitch black night. My eyes search near the end of the village for the last small cottage that contains no candle. That is the place. Do other people live there now? Most likely. It has been Twenty-seven years since I was last here.

…….

During late hours where the moon shined upon everything, five year old Erik ran through the soft meadow filled with thousands of wild flowers. The different scents all filling his senses one at a time. His hands reaching out touching the soft peddles, Erik reaches out for the most beautiful flowers he could see.

The wind blowing against his face gave him a sense of freedom as he stopped and closed his eyes. He was truly free, out here where no one else ventured in the night. He was free to shout, free to cry… free to reveal his ugly face.

"Erik!"

Erik quickly searches for his mother's voice. A part of him was happy that his mother was looking for him, yet a part of him remained distressing. Would his mother lock him up again in that dark room? Something told him he would be hearing that voice again tonight.

At least Erik got to see the twilight shining above him with such glee. He takes one more glance at the stars, he gives the sparkling diamonds above a small smile for them and them alone to keep.

"Erik!" cried his mother.

Erik quickly reaches into his pocket for his mask. Slipping it on he runs in the direction of his mother's voice. He misses the stars already as his mother comes into view. Looking frantic yet cautious as always. Erik runs to his mother with a bright smile on his face, that was until his mother seized his arm and squeezed with anger. Erik cried out in pain. She would not yank him toward her, in fact she did the opposite; she made sure he was nowhere near her as she spoke to him.

"Do you have any idea what would happen if someone saw you?" She hissed.

"No one ever catches me mother," Erik says softly to his poor unhappy mother. Her eyes were now full of fear.

"You've been outside more than once?" She asks carefully. Erik swallows as he think of his answer. He could lie to her, but he hated lying and she would always find out the truth later and her punishments were so much crueler. But if he tells her the truth…

Erik stared at his small bare feet, either way he was going to be punished. His eyes met his mothers. Her eyes would have been so beautiful, if only she smiled. Never has he seen her smile. Slowly he nods his head. With a growl his mother brought her hand back and swung it, she made contact with Erik's small face.

Instead of falling to his knees and pouring his tears, instead of trying to run away… the only thing little Erik did was make sure his mask stayed in place for his mother. It was after when Erik glanced back at his mother that he soon began to cry. His mother's eyes were still filled with fear and hate. She still did not love him. His mother began to drag Erik to their cottage.

"I'm sorry mother! I never get to go outside! I just… I just wanted some cool air! That's all! I would never let anyone see me!"

"You want cool air? Fine!"

Erik felt the dirt hit the front of his toes; it was a moment afterwards he felt wood. They reached their cottage, Erik's mother continued to march and drag Erik through their home until they reached a small wooden door. As soon as this door came into sight Erik began to squirm.

"No! No please mother not there! I can't see down there! Mother please I am frightened of the dark! Please mother!"

"You said you wanted cool air, there will be plenty of cool air in there!" She spat. She reached for a couple of keys placed on her desk and slipped one of the keys into its lock. After a few clicks the door swung open to reveal nothing but darkness. The cold wrapped around Erik and pulled him into its dreadful lair.

His mother took one more glance at her son before shutting the door and locking. Erik quickly went to the door and immediately banged his small fists into it.

"Mother let me out! Please! I'll be good! I'll never leave the house again I swear it!"

"Be quiet!" his mother cries with fright. Erik can imagine his mother. He can imagine her staring at the door and watching the door knob moving, trying to let out her monstrous son. He can imagine her placing her hands over her ears to try and block out my voice… he can imagine her cowering to a corner and slipping down to its floor in tears.

Although all these thoughts came from Erik's head… he knew they were true. He knew how his mother prayed to God hoping no one would hear her son.

Blood begins to cover Erik's knuckles as he continues to thrash the door with all his might.

"Erik…"

The thrashing stops as the voice fills his head. It was him! The voice! The voice that sounded similar to Erik's. That of a small child, a small child only at the age of five. Just like Erik.

"No! Mother please! He'll get me!"

"Mother is not listening to you Erik! She never listens to you; I can understand why… who would want to listen to a hideous monster?"

"No! Mother! Go away!"

"You can't make me go away. I am apart of you." The boy whispered back harshly.

"No!"

…….

The night is silent, the air is still. I walk through the small village determination running through me. Just a few more cottages and my home will be in my view.

Indeed, I was right. The small cottage with such a dark past came into my line of vision. No candles were lit, the cottage remains completely dark. That is until I take a better look, a figure walks by the window slowly. I cannot see it clearly enough to identify whether it was a person or something else. All I know is that a chill went through me. Something awaits me in that place.

The door is just yards away, but before I move any closer I take a look back. Behind me there is a meadow filled with thousands of dead wild flowers. The memory is still fresh in my mind. The feeling of enjoying the company of the stars, then the feeling of fear and wretchedness stabbing me. I was only five and yet she still treated me horribly.

A long deep breath leaves me before I face the door before me. I stand before it unmoving, terrified of what remains behind it. My past, the beatings, the tears, the screams…it is all still hear I know it!

If I walk through this door every memory I pushed back will come back like a vast tidal wave!

My hands begin to shake as I try to stay calm. This is something I need to get her back. My Dreama, my baby. I lift my chin and glare at the door, no turning back now.

My shaking hand reaches for the door knob, my skin presses against the metal and I freeze. No! Now is not the time for that! Open the door.

I turn the knob carefully; the door opens only a bit. I let go of the knob and press on the door. Making a few squeaks it opens wide for me. The first thing I see is blackness. Although my ability to see in the dark was weak I still could make out a few things. But through that door I could see nothing.

Holding my breath I take a step inside, my heart jumps when I hear my boot hit the wood. Another chill spreads through my body as I enter the cottage completely.

Sweat begins to cover my brow as I continue to walk through the dark. I glance around; the cottage was grey and cold.

Suddenly a small noise catches my attention, I glance in front of me where at the far end of the main room a small fire flickers, yet in front of the fire on a small wooden chair is what made my heart stop completely.

I told myself to turn and run, run and never look back. Run and find another way to find my wife. I beg myself to run, yet my feet moves toward the fire place. Toward the figure sitting silently on the chair.

Please! Please! Turn back now!

It is too late; I now stand at the figures side. Sitting on that small wooden chair is a woman. Her long curly hair, now silver is messy around her round head. Her pale skin now contains wrinkles. Everything about her is different, the only thing that remains the same… is her eyes.

"Mother," I breathe.

Her eyes are unmoving as she stares at the fire. Her body sits still, her mind floating elsewhere.

I unexpectedly find myself kneeling on one knee before her tired old form. Her hand looks lifeless as it just rests on the arm of the chair. I focus back on her eyes.

"Mother?" I call gently, trying everything possible to not scare her. I glance back down at her hand, just maybe is the last thing I think before I take off my gloves and carefully reach for her hand.

Will she notice my touch? Oh God… all these years of knowing what she did to me and I still yearn for her love!

My fingertips touch her cold skin; I frown as I stare at her face. She frowns herself as she finally blinks. Her head slowly turns toward me, she squints her eyes gently trying to see who I am. The black mask that hides my face from her no doubt will throw her off, perhaps even alarm her. Oh but how much I want her to see me, how much I want her to recognize me!

Her eyes scan my mask and she tilts her head. She does not know who I am, slowly her eyes close and she turns away.

"Mother," I call again smoothly. That is when her eyes swiftly open. She turns her head and focuses on me. "It is me," I whisper to her. Her eyes stare at my mask and I close my eyes as I swallow hard. "Your son."

I hear her silently gasp and my eyes quickly open to see heavy tears appear in her eyes.

"Erik?"

My eyes widen as tears appear in mine. She said my name as if… as if she misses me… as if she misses her hideous son.

"My son," she whispers, her voice struggling to stay calm.

"Yes," I whisper back. She moves her hand away from mine; at first I thought she was frightened. No, she is not frightened. Both of her shaky hands slowly come to my mask. Bit by bit she lifts it off of my face.

Never could I stop her, only once did she ever lift my mask when I was young. It was only when I injured myself by accident on my left cheek. She told me to close my eyes and she cautiously lifted my mask from my face. I did not hear her scream as she cleaned my injury.

When I was alone in my room I cried thanking God, I thought she has forgiven me for being ugly. But no, she has not. She still shunned me.

I feel myself become weak as I feel like that little boy who has never been touched by his mother in a caring way. Will my mother touch me with a caring hand? Or will she shun me yet again?

I feel the cool wind cover my face; the fire next to me quickly warms the left side of my face. The side of my face that is smooth and normal, yet my deformation stays cold and stays hidden in shadows. Away from my mother's sight.

"My son… my angel… my Erik…"

Can this truly be happening? Did my mother truly whisper those words to me? A tear runs down the visible side of my face and my mother brushes it away. Her cold fingers are slightly warmer than before. Can they be warmer because of me? Her hand covers my face, she caresses it and my eyes fall shut.

"Erik," she calls gently.

"Yes mother… I am here." I whisper through tears that continuously fall into her hands.

"Oh Erik, my precious boy," she praises weakly. My eyes slowly open to see something that made my heart soar; I let out a small sob as a beautiful smile shines before me. I quickly glance at her eyes. Not full of fear… not full of hate. Full of… love? She is beautiful!

"Thank you," is all I can say as I lean in toward her. Her arms warp around my head and she holds me. I cry on her shoulder as I tighten my hold on her. "Thank you mother!"

I wish this moment will last forever! We can start over! We can be a family! The past will be forgotten and we can all live together! Me, Dreama, our child… and my mother.

Both of her hands this time move to my face to caress them, I feel her hand against my deformation and that is when she stops moving. She slides her fingers across the lumps on my face and that is when she moves away.

My heart begins to beat wildly as I glance at her face, her smile is gone. I look into her eyes, fear is back in them.

The tears of happiness soon became misery. No… no please not again. She places her hand on my chin and moves my face into the light. The light hits my full face and I suddenly hear my mother make a horrible screech.

Memories quickly came and I jump backwards only to land on my back where the light lie plainly on my distorted flesh.

"You are not my son!" She shouts. The tears were flowing mad! "You bastard! You took my son! You are not my son you monster! You beast!"

I move toward her, I feel like I did when I was a boy. Needing to feel my mother's arms around me. I crawl to her yet all she does is scream. The sound has not changed at all.

"The devil took my son! You are the Devils son! Leave! Get away!"

"Mother please! Please mother, give me a chance to be handsome for you!" I plead to her as I reach for her.

"Get away!" she cries.

"Please! I love you! Mother please!"

She does not hear me.

She never hears you.

It is him! The voice I knew since I was a boy. The voice that would constantly torment me! Haunt me…

Do you see now?

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

"Mother… please… don't…"

Her hand swings and slaps my face; my hand quickly covers my face from her view. It is the same… it is all the same. She will never change… I will never change.

The anger begins to build, her cries and shouts fills my ears as I remember… everything.

When Christine left me that night.

When she ripped off my mask in front of all to see.

When she betrayed me when I gave her all!

When the gypsies humiliated me.

When they beat me.

When my mother sold me.

When she first beat me.

When she first said she hated me.

When she gave me my first and only gift…

A mask to hide the Phantom within me.

The black mask is now back on my face. I make one more glance into my mother's eyes, they hold fear… and hate. I run out of the cottage, her screams were still there in my mind. Her tears, her words, everything. I run and I don't stop, realizing the truth is too much to bear!

He is right.

The Phantom was born first.

I, the Phantom was born first.


Hello to all! I do not expect you to forgive me for not writing sooner. You have every right to be angry with the weak updates. Unfortunately my plan for this story is going out of control and I am starting to have doubts about the plot! It is freaking me out and I do not know if I should continue or not. Let me know what I should do please? Oh... real quick... for those of you who have read "The Family In New Orleans", I made a mistake! I said Erik's mother sold him when he was 5, I meant 7... I know, I know... Retarded mistake!

Review if you want! they are appreciated!

Crys A.

"Life is a mask, it's our job to take it off and discover the journey behind it not in front for there is nothing there but a mask."